Behind a 21st Century Sephardic Revolution
One hundred elite cyclists raised $530,000 in the 2nd Annual Bike4Chai in support of Camp Simcha, a medically-supervised overnight camp for seriously ill children. The 150-mile bike tour was sponsored by Chai Lifeline, an international non-profit organization dedicated to meeting the non-medical needs of sick children, their families and their communities. The riders started on August 3rd from The Berkeley hotel in Asbury Park, N.J. and made a triumphant entry on August 4th at Camp Simcha in Glen Spey, N.Y.
Aiming to top the $206,000 raised in last year’s bike tour, this year’s participants, many of them professionals from New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania, surpassed their goal of raising $500,000. This will allow at least 80 children with cancer and other serious illnesses to attend the expensive summer camp tuition-free. The top five fundraisers were Abie Maleh, Alan Shamah, Brian Haim, Elliot S. Zaks and Michael Bauman, who combined to raise more than $130,000.
Every year, Camp Simcha provides a full array of traditional camp activities, from archery to water activities, along with special events such as helicopter rides and concerts, to 430 ill children. A state-of-the-art medical center, dedicated medical team, and specially-trained counselors ensure that even children on chemotherapy can enjoy two weeks of uninterrupted fun. Campers return home enriched by their experiences, with happy memories and new friends to help them through the rough patches in their lives.
“Biking up to 150 miles in two days is naturally very challenging,” said Zaks, Director of Operations for the Lakewood, N.J.-based Madison Commercial Real Estate Services (MCRES), and one of the top fundraisers who helped organize this year’s ride. “But riding into Camp Simcha at the end of the second day and seeing the looks on the faces of the kids there made all the difficulties disappear.”